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ImageX Facts


ImageX is a command line tool that creates an image from a reference computer. ImageX:

  • Runs in the WinPE environment on the reference computer to capture a volume image of the files.
  • Saves the image to a Windows Image (WIM) file.
  • Stores the WIM file to network distribution points, or stores the WIM file to a Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) on Enterprise or Ultimate editions.
  • Modifies an existing image by adding drivers without recapturing the entire image.



To exclude specific files during the ImageX capture operation, create and use a Wimscript.ini configuration file. Be aware of the following:

  • When creating the Windows PE medium, save the Wimscript.ini file in the same directory as the ImageX tool (e.g., c:\winpe\iso\) before creating the ISO.
  • When ImageX runs on the reference computer, it will automatically recognize the Wimscript.ini file if you save the Wimscript.ini file in the same directory as ImageX.
  • The Wimscript.ini file has three sections:
    • The ExclusionList section defines what files and folders to exclude from the capture process.
    • The ExclusionException section overrides the default exclusion list during the capture process.
    • The CompressionExclusionList section defines the files and folders and file types that you want to exclude from the compress operation.

Be aware of the following ImageX (imagex.exe) options:

  • /capture captures the volume image on the reference computer to a new .wim file.   
  • /config identifies an alternate configuration file name and location (when using a file other than Wimscript.ini in the same directory as ImageX).
  • /compress specifies compression when capturing the system image.  
    • The maximum compression option provides the best compression, but takes the longest time to capture the image.
    • The fast compression option provides faster image compression, but the captured files are larger than those compressed with the maximum option. This the default compression type.
    • The none compression option does not compress the captured image.
  • /split splits the captured image into multiple files.
  • /apply deploys the image.
  • /apply /ref deploys the image using the split files.
  • /verify checks for errors and file duplication.

Use the following steps to capture the reference computer's Windows 7 installation onto a network share:

  1. Insert the bootable Windows PE medium into the reference computer.
  2. Reboot the reference computer and change the boot order to reference the Windows PE medium.
  3. Connect to the network share where you will copy the WIM file. For example, to connect to your network share, map the share as drive letter Z:, and then copy the image to the share, enter:
    net use z: \\[servername]\images
  4. Determine the drive letter (i.e., drive partition) of the reference computer's Windows 7 installation.
    • While running Windows PE on a machine with BitLocker, the first logical partition is already used as drive C: (i.e., Partition 1) and does not contain the reference computer's Windows 7 installation.
    • WindowsPE does not automatically hide the BitLocker partition, and the next logical partition typically contains the reference computer's Windows 7 installation.
  5. Use the ImageX tool located on your Windows PE media to capture an image of your reference computer's Windows 7 installation and save it to the network share. For example, if the ImageX tool is on drive X:, drive D: is the location of the reference computer's Windows 7 installation, and drive Z: is the location for the new image file, you would enter:
    x:\imagex.exe /capture d: z:\win7ent.wim "Win7 Ent Image"